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Turning Precision Agriculture Potential into Profit

Turning Precision Agriculture Potential into Profit

Event: 3rd Annual Precision Agriculture Conference & AG Tech Showcase
Theme: Turning Precision Agriculture’s Potential into Profit
Venue: Best Western Lamplighter Inn, London Ontario
Date: Tuesday, February 02, to 03, 2016
Twitter: #PAg16

The 3rd annual Precision Agriculture Conference and Ag Tech Showcase, was held at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn in London last week. London and surrounding Area is recognized as one of the most agriculturally productive and richest areas in Ontario. The theme of this year’s conference was “Turning Precision Agriculture’s Potential into Profit”

Precision Agriculture Conference & AG Tech Showcase

Annual Precision Agriculture Conference & AG Tech ShowcaseThe aim of this year’s conference was to share the innovative and best practices on a wide range of topics such as sensors, managing big farm data, software, UAVs and agronomy that help agronomists and farmers to unlock the full potential of the resources. This Annual event is quickly becoming one of the largest gathering of Agriculture experts, professionals and farmers in Canada, with specific emphasis on encouraging networking, building new as well as strengthening existing relationships.

Annual Precision Agriculture Conference & AG Tech ShowcaseThe conference was inaugurated with a welcome address by Joe Dales, Executive Vice President Farms.com Ltd., who underscored the growing need for sustainability in farming practices. This was followed by Paul Schrempf, who spoke about the market dynamics involving farmers and retailers and the lack of cross platform compatibility among VRT, UAVs, Sensors and Imagery.

Steve Redmond, Precision Agriculture Specialist at Hensall District Co-Operative gave a brief history of Precision Agriculture in Ontario and where they were in adoption of this technology, advent of GPS systems. This was followed by Tim Marquis’s presentation on using the services offered by Weather Decision Technology.

The Trade show part of the conference was opened to the public and represented by most of the well-known service providers for precision Agriculture such as 360 Yield Center, AgLeader, Agri-Trend, DU PONT, Farm Credit Canada, Delta, Deveron UAS, Farms.com, GPS Ontario, Haggerty Creek, Hensall District, Huron Tractor, LaserAg,  Practical Precision, Unmanned Systems Canada, Trimble, and many others.

Annual-Precision-Agriculture-Conference-&-AG-Tech-Showcase-2That was followed by concurrent sessions on:

  1. Precision Agriculture Agronomy Session by Aaron, Stephanie, Jac Nault & Jason Webster.
  2. Managing & Harvesting Your Farm Data by Karon Cowan of AgTech GIS
  3. Financing Agriculture Technologies Panel by Dr. Amit, David Macmillan, Dan & Wade Barnes.
  4. Variable Rate Fertility Overview by Mike Duncan and Rick Willemse.

Following a short break. Jason Tatge, President, Farm mobile presented on “Farm Data Management”, in which he underscored why data is one the most valuable things a farmer harvests. That was followed by Agri-Trends Founder Rob Saik’s presentation on “Building a Dream from the ground up” and how his team has been working on building a network of Agri and Geo Coaches to help farmers.

A welcome reception was held at the trade show to encourage conference delegates to visit the trade show booths and meet Precision Ag experts, socialize with attendees, and network.

On the second day of the conference registration started early followed by breakfast and opening of the Trade show.

The early bird breakout session had two concurrent sessions about:

  1. Precision Agriculture Technology Results by Paul Raymer, Practical Precision.
  2. Introduction to LaserAg-Revolutionary New Soil Testing Systems and Workshop by Jacques Nault, LaserAg-Logiag Inc.

In the Opening main session, there were two presentations:Annual Precision Agriculture Conference & AG Tech Showcase

Lisa Prassack, a well-known Agri Food Innovation expert  presented on “The future & potential of Technology in the Agriculture & Food Industry”, in which she underlined the importance of farmers storing their farm data.

Nevin McDougall, president Agro art Group, spoke about “Why Innovation & Sustainability Strategies Are Critical to Your Farm & Business Success”.

There was a Precision Agronomy & Research Panel Presentation by Noah Freeman, Jason Webster and Dale Cowan and then following a Coffee break there were breakout concurrent presentations on:

  1. Unmanned Systems: UAVs, Images, Services & Regulations by Felix Weber, Norm Lamothe and Charles Vidal
  2. Farmer Software & Technology Update by Chris Creek and Glen Kroeker
  3. Back to Basics – The Evergreen Revolution by Greg Patterson
  4. Precision Farm Machinery Update by Darryl Lacey and Greg Kitching
  5. Variable Rate Seeding Trial, Fungicide Trial & Trial Best Practices by Dale Cowan and Ben Gist.

A Luncheon Keynote Presentation  about “Innovation & Agriculture Business Outlook for 2016” by J.P Grevis and Aron Gampel followed the lunch break. A Farmer Panel was moderated by Lisa Prassack in which four farmers from various parts of North America described their experience in Precision Agriculture and interacted with experts, following which, Wade Barnes, President, FarmersEdge presented on “What Farmers Are Doing in Western Canada / USA”.

The last breakout concurrent presentations were:

  1. Overview of FarmersEdge by Wade Barnes
  2. Future of Agriculture Imagery & Satellite Services by Andrew Pylpchuk
  3. BASF Compass Software Introduction by Andrew Elgersma and Neal Dilawri
  4. Full Season Nitrogen Management Solutions by Stephanie Smith
  5. Zone Smart, Soil Mapping, Management Zones by Nicole Rabe, Mike Duncan and Dan.

Finally, Joe Dales and Steve Redmond provided the Final Wrap Up presentation and highlighted the various proceedings and outcomes of the Conference and the future outlook of the Precision Agriculture industry.

There is an growing need of Skilled resources in Geospatial Technology who can use High Resolution imagery from Satellite, Airborne Imagery in Agriculture Applications , the outlook for the Precision Agriculture Industry is very promising and is poised to become a $4 Billion industry within a few years.

The Conference proved to be a major boost for the Canadian precision agriculture industry in general and Ontario in particular. Some of the new products launched in the conference such as the LaserAg, look very promising for the industry, the enterprising spirit of the speakers was amazing, the conference was well organized and conducted.

 

  Hari Shankar Reddy Yeruva, GISP Contributing Author: Hari Shankar Reddy Yeruva, GISP is a Technology Evangelist on a mission to engage with professionals, educators and students that drive excitement around Geospatial Platforms. As an Evangelist he explores every possible opportunity to reach and inspire technical audiences to successfully discover, understand, deploy and operate the core and unique Geospatial Technologies within their chosen domains. He believes in the concept of “desperately learning” and that learning is imperative if we want to solve some of the challenges our world is facing.


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2015 GIS in Education and Research Conference

GIS in Education and Research Conference

2015 GIS in Education and Research Conference

The Second edition of the GIS in Education and Research Conference, organized by Esri Canada in partnership with the University of Toronto was held at Hart House last Monday ( November 30, 2015).  The venue of the conference: Hart House has a unique distinction of being one of the earliest collegiate Gothic Style student center’s which opened to public on Remembrance Day in 1919.Michael Goodchild at GIS in Education and Research Conference

The GIS in Education and Research Conference was primarily aimed at sharing the research findings from all areas of GIS applications while fostering networking among students, professors and teachers from universities, colleges, and schools all across Canada.

The Conference started with the welcome address by Dr. Brent Hall, Director Education and Research with Esri Canada, followed by a plenary address from Professor Emeritus Michael Goodchild, who presented in detail the challenges of Big Data: Volume, Velocity & Variety.

This was followed by a combination of concurrent paper sessions from 10:30-12:15 on research by professors and students on four themes

  1. 3D and GeodesignMichael Goodchild at GIS in Education and Research Conference
  2. Crowdsourcing/Big Data/Open Data
  3. Glaciology/Geology
  4. Physical Processes

Following a Lunch break (12:15- 13:15) there were three concurrent sessions (13:15-14:45) on

  1. Agricultural Applications
  2. Applications in Ecology
  3. Health and Retail

Following a Break (14:45 – 15:15) there were three concurrent sessions (15:15-16:45)

  1. Crime and Emergency Management
  2. Transit Modelling and AccuracyMichael Goodchild at GIS in Education and Research Conference
  3. Data Integration / Education

There were three technical workshops conducted by Esri Canada staff which were received with great enthusiasm by the participants and were wait-listed much before the conference started.

  1. Story Telling with Maps by Jean Tong, Angela Alexander, Hayleigh Conway.
  2. Integrating R with ArcGIS by Cam Plouffe.
  3. Building Custom Web Apps with ArcGIS by Krista Amolins, Dr.Michael Leahy, Jonathan.

In addition, there was a display of Esri Canada Higher Education Scholarship posters from 2015 and submissions to this year’s Esri Young Scholar Award competition.2015 GIS in Education and Research Conference

At the exhibitors section there were exhibitor booths by Esri Canada, represented by Jean Tong, Angela and Hayleigh from Education and Research group who showcased the GIS Ambassador Program of Esri Canada. URISA Ontario was represented by Caitlin Blundell who was briefing the visitors about URISA Ontario and their various activities including their Student Membership and Bursary. Other notable exhibitors included Geospatial Niagara and Fleming College.

Overall the conference proved to be very valuable to all participants, providing great opportunity to network and learn more about research being carried out by geospatial educated people who drive the Geomatics Sector  in Canada.

  Hari Shankar Reddy Yeruva, GISP Contributing Author: Hari Shankar Reddy Yeruva, GISP is a Technology Evangelist on a mission to engage with the Professionals, Educators and Students and drive excitement around Geospatial Platforms. As an Evangelist he explores every possible opportunity to reach and inspire technical audiences to successfully discover, understand, deploy and operate the core and unique Geospatial technologies within their chosen domains. He believes in the concept of “desperately learning” and that learning is imperative if we want to solve some of the challenges our world is facing.

Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax

Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax

I first started attending conferences during University when it was required that we present our research work to professionals and other researchers in the Industry. Then the year I graduated was fortunate enough to attend the PDAC conference (now this was prior to the internet and my main focus then was to find a job in my field). PDAC is a large annual conference held in Toronto and the best conference I have ever attended. And I have been attending events & conferences ever since …. I find that although CanadianGIS.com and its social media accounts provide me great networking opportunities, it always better to have opportunities to meet other professionals in the geomatics sector and network one on one.Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax Nova Scotia

International Symposium on Digital Earth (ISDE), also known as Digital Earth for short, was held this past week (Oct 4th-9th) in Halifax. It’s goal is to bring global leaders from the geospatial community together to further discuss topics themed around “A One World Vision for the Blue Planet“.

Atlantic Canada is well known for having a rich history in the world of Geomatics

Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax Nova ScotiaAtlantic Canada is well known for having a rich history in the world of geomatics, tracing back to the post-war era when some of the earliest computer applications in surveying and mapping were developed, and integrated information systems for geographical applications began to be used.  This was also the second time that International Symposium on Digital Earth was hosted in Canada (the last time was 2001 in New Brunswick) since its inaugural start back in 1998 when former US Vice President, Al Gore gave his Digital Earth speech.

Digital Earth is meant to be an event that virtually represents our dynamic planet, encompassing all of its natural and social aspects together in a geographic framework for research and everyday applications. It provides a venue that allows the geospatial community come together to work towards sustainable development ensuring that what most of us take for granted will be here for future generations.

Digital Earth in Halifax explored a wide variety of geographic related theories, technologies, applications and achievements focused around planetary sciences, information technology, computer sciences, social sciences and big data.

Above is a video we created by combining photos & videos (ones we took as well as others from social media)

The five day conference was packed with multiple presenters from all over the world.  Three to four concurrent sessions took place at the same time several times a day, each with speakers taking up to 20 minutes each to present and discuss their topics. Keynote speakers (13 in all) took place in the larger main conference room and lasted between 40 minutes to an hour.NASA at Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax Nova Scotia

With almost 150 presentations, some presenters were able to speak several times. The down side of having so many presentations occurring in overlapping time slots meant that there were times when you had to choose to attend one presentation over another (and thus missed out on some of the talks).

Half way through the conference there was an Education Outreach program that was open to the public, providing hands on activities and scientific excursions aimed to help people better visualize our planet.

The Canadian Geographic Education provided one of their iconic giant floor maps and the Canadian Space Agency (with NASA) provided an opportunity to interact with some Astronauts as a way to get a better understanding of how large our Planet is and at the same time understand how small it is in comparison to the Universe.

Jeremy Hansen and Reid Wiseman together provided an amazing presentation about how big Canada is, and Keynote Dawn Wright from Esri at Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax Nova Scotiawhat it is like to live on the International Space Station. NASA provided detailed digital representations of geographic data on their large high definition hyper-wall (screen made up of 9 smaller screens).

Other social events included some pre-conference workshops, Student Career workshop, Opening and closing Receptions, a Pub Night, Celebration Ceilidh, Student Sociable, Mentor Lunch, and various tours to scenic areas across Nova Scotia.

Considering the wide array of speakers and broad topics covered, the action packed agenda, and the abundant opportunity to network, I think Digital Earth was a good conference. I myself attend several conferences and events in the geomatics sector every year and was fortunate enough to attend Digital Earth in Halifax and certainly would go again if it returned to Canada.

Below is a slide show of photos from Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax

Below are some tweets from Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax

Click here for more Digital Earth Tweets & photos